top of page

Are Brass Knuckles Legal in Canada?

Updated: Jan 25

brass knuckles

  • Brass Knuckles are illegal in Canada as they are considered prohibited weapons.

  • Plastic knuckles are not prohibited under the classification of "brass knuckles" and therefore are legal.

  • Even though plastic knuckles are legal and are not "prohibited weapons" like their metal counterparts, misuse or use in a manner that threatens or harms another person will lead to legal consequences.

These aren't just stylish chunks of metal.

They've been symbols of power, protection, and controversy.

But in Canada, do they hold a place in the legal framework?

Let's dive in.

Are Brass Knuckles Legal in Canada?

The short answer: Not all of them.

Metal brass knuckles? Definitely illegal.

Metal brass knuckles fall under a category known as "prohibited weapons," and if you are carrying them, you'll be charged with “possession of a prohibited weapon.”

But what about plastic knuckles?

As long as they're made from plastic, plastic knuckles are perfectly legal to own in Canada - BUT you cannot use them.

My Advice: Even if plastic knuckles might be technically legal, carrying them around could still get someone in legal trouble for other reasons, such as possessing a weapon with the intent to harm.

Why? It's believed they can cause undue harm if used maliciously.

So, possessing, selling, or importing brass knuckles are against the law - however, plastic knuckles are actually legal in Canada.

Restricted vs. Prohibited: Understanding Weapon Categories in Canada

While they might appear as mere pieces of shaped metal, brass knuckles have been a source of concern for law enforcement agencies across the world.

Their compact nature and ease of concealment make them an ideal choice for those needing a discreet yet effective weapon.

"Are brass knuckles a restricted weapon?" is a question that often pops up.

The answer? Brass knuckles proudly (or not-so-proudly) wear the badge of "prohibited weapon." They are designed to amplify the power of a punch, focusing it on a small area and increasing the chance for injury.

They are not legal and should not be used to harm or threaten another person, or to be used-in self defense.

brass knuckles

Canada's Stand on Prohibited Weapons

Canada's Criminal Code explicitly classifies brass knuckles as prohibited weapons. This isn’t just about the metal ones.

Any device designed to be worn over the knuckles with the intention of increasing the effect of a punch is considered illegal.

The potential harm these can inflict is deemed unacceptable, hence their prohibition.

Read the full definition within Canada's Criminal Code here.

Brass Knuckles vs Plastic Knuckles

All metal knuckles are considered prohibited weapons as are any similar devices made of metal designed to fit over the fingers of the hand to concentrate the force of a punch,

Brass Knuckles Combined with Other Weapons

If brass knuckles are combined with other weapons like knives, it is the brass knuckles' portion that determines the classification as a prohibited weapon.


Plastic Knuckles: Plastic knuckles are explicitly stated as not falling within the definition of "brass knuckle," meaning they are not prohibited based on this classification. However, misuse could still lead to penalties under other laws.

It's essential to understand that even though plastic knuckles may not be prohibited under this specific classification, if you use them to harm or threaten another person, you'll face legal consequences.

As always, if there's any doubt about an item's legality or intended use, consult legal advice.

If Brass Knuckles are Illegal in Canada, Why Can Shops Sell Them?

It's a puzzling conundrum: you walk into a shop in Canada and spot brass knuckles on display, but federal law clearly labels them as prohibited weapons. How can stores legally sell them amidst such restrictions?

  1. Novelty and Decorative Items: Often, what you're seeing in shops aren't functional brass knuckles intended for use as a weapon. Instead, they might be decorative pieces, belt buckles or jewelry. These items might resemble brass knuckles but aren't designed for the same purpose.

  2. Loopholes and Gray Areas: Some sellers exploit legal ambiguities by marketing these items under different names or for different uses. They might try sell them as "paperweights" or "ornaments."

  3. Lack of Enforcement: The truth is, not all shops are compliant. Some might be selling these items illegally, banking on the hope that law enforcement won't catch on or that the penalties aren't severe enough to deter them.

  4. Import and Export Nuances: While possession and use of brass knuckles might be illegal, the laws governing their sale, especially for export or as collectibles, might differ. Some shops might sell them with the understanding that they're meant for export or collection purposes only.

However, it's crucial for consumers to understand that the purchase, possession, or use of brass knuckles, even if bought legally, can land them in hot water - it will be assumed you're carrying or using them as a weapon.

Ignorance of the law is rarely a defensible position in court. If in doubt, it's always wise to steer clear or seek legal advice.

Can I Buy Brass Knuckles Online?

When you buy brass knuckles from an international website, Canadian law still applies. So purchasing brass knuckles online website doesn't skirt Canadian law.

Facing the Music: Legal Repercussions

Being caught with brass knuckles in Canada means that you've been caught with the charge of "possession of a prohibited weapon."

This charge can carry with it severe penalties and first-time offenders can face hefty fines, which might be accompanied by potential prison time, especially if you have prior offenses.

Moreover, there’s the looming threat of a criminal record which can hinder future employment opportunities, travel plans, and even housing applications.

Brass Knuckles in BC: Unraveling the Legality

Aligning with the broader Canadian consensus: brass knuckles illegal.

Canada’s Criminal Code clearly categorizes them as prohibited weapons.

In British Columbia, regional bylaws may oscillate on various matters, but regarding brass knuckles, BC doesn’t offer special privileges for curators or hobbyists.

Beyond Brass Knuckles: Other Prohibited Self-Defense Tools in Canada

While brass knuckles often steal the limelight in discussions about banned self-defense items in Canada, they are just the tip of the iceberg.

Canada has a stringent stance on various weapons to ensure public safety. Here's a rundown of other prohibited self-defense tools:

  1. Automatic Knives (Switchblades): Any knife where the blade opens automatically, either through gravity, centrifugal force, or by pressing a button, is prohibited in Canada.

  2. Push Daggers: These T-handled sharp instruments are designed to be gripped while the blade protrudes between the fingers, making them illegal due to their concealable and deadly nature.

  3. Spiked Finger Rings: Rings fitted with blades or spikes capable of being projected are banned. However, decorative bumps or edges, not designed as weapons, are typically exempted.

  4. Nunchaku (Nunchucks): Often associated with martial arts, nunchaku is a prohibited weapon. Their potential to cause harm has led to their restriction.

  5. Throwing Stars and Shuriken: These sharp-edged, multi-pointed weapons, often associated with ninja folklore, are illegal to possess or distribute.

  6. Blowguns: A simple tube through which darts can be blown, often with harmful or poisonous effects, is also on the prohibited list.

  7. Cattle Prods exceeding 500,000 volts: While cattle prods for agricultural use are legal, those designed for personal defense and delivering a jolt above 500,000 volts are not.

  8. Mace and Tear Gas: Carrying these for self-defense, rather than for their intended purpose by police and military, is a no-go in Canada.

If you're considering a self-defense tool, don't carry anything intending to use it as a weapon. Choose legal self-defense methods, like personal alarms or self-defense classes, for a safer and wiser approach.

What Tools Are Legal For Self-Defense?

The intent behind carrying a tool is everything. You can't carry any tool with the primary intention of self-defense.

But if you find yourself in a sticky situation and use a carried item as a spur-of-the-moment defense? You're within legal bounds.

Let's dissect what you can arm yourself with:

Personal Safety Alarms: These devices are loud and attention-grabbing. Perfect for drawing eyes (and ears) your way when in distress. Just pull the pin, and you'll set off a blaring alarm and flashing lights.

shes birdie keychain

self defense keychain

self defense keychain

self defense keychain

Dog Spray: Pepper spray for humans? No-go in Canada. But dog spray to fend off aggressive animals? Fair game. Just ensure it's solely for animals.

sabre self defense spray

sabre self defense spray

sabre self defense spray

You can read our full guide on whether you can use bear spray for self defense in Canada here.

Self-Defense Keychains

Here's where it gets tricky. These can be legal as long as their primary function isn't self-defense. So, if you're using it mainly to jingle your keys and only use its defensive feature in an unplanned incident, you should be in the clear.

safety keychain

safety keychain

Safety Whistles: A whistle's shrill can be a potential attacker's deterrent. Simple, legal, and effective.

titanium emergency whistle

Flashlights: Beyond lighting up dark corners, a bright flashlight can blind and confuse an assailant. Plus, they're perfectly legal.

tactical flashlight

tactical flashlight

Tactical Pen Keychain Safe Glass Breaker: This tool doubles up: handy in emergencies to break car windows and, if push comes to shove, for self-defense. But remember, its primary identity should be 'a pen'. The defense bit? That's Plan B.

Water Bottle: An every day item that when filled with frozen water, might be a better deterrent than nothing.

Navigating the rules of self-defense tools? Stick to the straight and narrow. In Canada, the law has its say. Instead of landing in a legal soup with prohibited items, why not ring in safety with personal alarms or some legit self-defense moves?

Safe, savvy, and no side-eye from the law. That's how we roll.

Stay sharp.


bottom of page